Child driver endangers more than just officers

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email 
Posted by Elizabeth Thomas – email

NEW SUMMERFIELD, TX (KLTV) – Criminal charges were filed on Wednesday against the teenager including evading arrest, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a public servant.

He was then released into his parent's custody.

The chase started Monday just east of New Summerfield in Cherokee County on CR 235, and kept going until an officer was able to shoot out one of the tires.

Authorities say the teen may have put many more people than just himself and the officers in danger.

Constable Jamie Beene tailed the suspect as he raced through a residential section. When boxed in, Bean says the teen tried to run him over, "You see him as he meets me. He runs off the side of the road. On the opposite side, you see him peel off the shoulder."

His dash cam video shows a truck swerving across the road in front of a Constable, setting off a nearly 90 mph chase.

New Summerfield Police Chief Paul Hammack says, "He came at him with the truck which Jamie [Beene] basically pushed himself aside."

The Constable had a split second to decide whether to shoot the tires or shoot the driver; he chose the tires.

"I'd already shot the front tires, and I was trying to keep up to shoot the back tire," said Beene.

It wasn't just the officers that the child put in danger; children were being let out from school buses at the time. As he made a turn onto Penney Lane, he ran over a 4 inch gas line. Had it ruptured, there could have been a huge explosion.

Hammack says "They went down that top road pretty hard, and there were kids down the street. Buses had let kids out."

Upon capture, they find it's a 13-year-old boy, who was an "A" student in school.

"He floored us. Here's this young man that we could have shot," Hammack explained.

The child often drove with his parent's consent, and the parents have been cited for letting an unlicensed driver operate the vehicle; a charge the parents are contesting.

The whole incident still has police baffled.

"Here's this kid that could have hurt us, could have hurt other kids on the road, and had no respect for nobody's life or anything," says Hammack.

Fortunately, the gas line the truck ran over was not critically damaged.

Punishment for the young driver may include probation, but will be considered at a later hearing.

Related stories:

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.